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Education & Beyond

Posted by Kunal on September 19, 2005

Two very insightful articles on B-schools and software jobs by Rashmi Bansal, the editor of Jam mag.

The first article talks about the B-school rankings released by Outlook. It talks about the surprising omissions from the list, the weird methodologies employed by Outlook to compile the rankings , permanent faculty vs. visiting faculty, etc. There are some very interesting observations like this one:

it is important to understand the difference between a B school and a Management Institute.
A management institute imparts business education, but also seeks to add onto the body of knowledge that exists in the subject as a whole.
A b school on the other hand has a single point objective: teaching the subject of business management.

The trouble with the surveys is that it lumps both categories together.Not all b schools seek to be management institutes – they simply wish to churn out competent graduates. And these graduates join the B school in quest of enhanced job prospects ie placements.

The article then goes on to talk about the ‘quick fixes’ applied by the B-schools to improve their rankings, not just in India but even in the US. IMHO, rankings are given undue importance. Things like ‘reputation’ are given a lot of importance in rankings which although important in B-schools, it is not so important in other fields of education. Fergusson College is ranked in the top 10 colleges in the country for Arts and also Science (IIRC)! As a son of a lecturer in Fergusson college and as a past student of the college, I can offer two conclusions – either the rankings are utter crap OR the education scenario in India is dismal beyond imagination.

Read the article here.

The second article deals with jobs for engineering graduates in IT companies. It definitely doesn’t paint a bright and rosy picture about life as software engineers. It gives more evidence about the sad life in big IT companies and strengthens my resolve of not working in a IT biggie (atleast for now).

Some guy in the IT industry sums up the work in the following words :

There is not much of a ladder is S/W industry as such. For most life is quite typical. One or two years in a company. Then a chance to go onsite and see some money. Then back home. Another 2 years and then one becomes an analyst and after 5-6 years, a manager. And your engineering branch is the last thing that would matter here. The work in S/w company is quite mundane and does not involve too much programming skills. If you have good talking skills and project yourself well to your managers, you would grow.

Scary! Read the article here.

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India Quiz

Posted by Kunal on August 31, 2005

India

The people of India used to be very civilized until they got bored of it. Then, some Europeans saw India and decided they wanted it. When the Queen heard them whine for it, she decided it was ok for them to have it. Then, one very old bald man said that we must not fight for independence. That will confuse the British. The British got confused and left. […] The official motto of India is “All your job are belong to us.?

Bombay

Bombay is also the world’s largest vodka party. Located off the shores of western India, Bombay is a perpetual paradise of over 20 million drunken sods who stay in the region and make merry all year round. […] Bombay is also the worlds largest exporter of underworld dons and nagging wives. Its mafia training institute is credited with inventing weapons of mass destruction like sticks, stones and very loud farts.

Bangalore

The British East India Comany coined the word “Bangalore? from “Bang? + “galore?, a reference to the promiscuity of the local women. […] Many Bangaloreans are also involved in the vocation of Cowabunga, where trained professionals methodically taunt cows by speaking to them in French. Obviously, this is a highly lucritive field, and has made many practitioners multi-millionaires overnight.[…]For entertainment, the people of Bangalore enjoy recreational telephoning. People worldwide enjoy calling Bangalore citizens in hopes of hearing the latest comedy routine about modern-day life.

Delhi (Deli)

Deli is called the “city of seven empires? because it has been pillaged and burnt to the ground atleast seven times by seven different people. Deli is ruled by Chief Minister Sheila Dikshit, whose name is funny and is often the source of many purile jokes. […]Deli is also the seat of the Prime Minister and the President of India. They both sit behind the cashier.

Brilliant!

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Blogroll++

Posted by Kunal on August 12, 2005

Additions to blogroll:

Michael Higgins

Shreevardhini

Siddhu Warrier

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Abracadabra

Posted by Kunal on July 24, 2005

I managed to get my grubby hands on the latest Potter book – Harry Potter and The Half Blood Prince just two days after the release. As usual, it is a good read and I could finish it very quickly. As Gaurav says, this book is better than the 5th but not as good as the previous four books. J.K. Rowling seems to have written this book as a mere bridge to the last one. Lots of questions remain to be answered, which is why the book isn’t satisfying as the previous ones. The best part about a Harry Potter book is that they are great whodunits. Rowling manages to spin a intricate tale and it is fascinating to see how the pieces finally fall into place at the end of the book.

                                 ******** SPOILERS AHEAD *********

The ‘character-who-dies’ turned out to be Dumbledore which was pretty much expected. In the 5th book, Dumbledore mentions to Harry that he has told him everything that he knows. That sealed it off for him I think. Dumbledore was my favourite character from the series. My predictions for the last book: Snape will do a Gollum1 and will play a very important part in the finale of the book. I don’t think Dumbledore will be resurrected or something. His purpose is over.

One major grouse: Why has Rowling suddenly invented the ‘non-verbal’ spell? I don’t remember this thing being mentioned in the previous books. I think that it is a logical fallacy. Why will any wizard cast a spell by saying it loud when he can do it non-verbally? It makes much more sense to do it non-verbally.

1 In Lord of the Rings, Gollum inadvertantly helps Frodo in achieving his goal. Similar to Darth Vader killing the Emperor in Star Wars.

Read Gaurav’s review of the book.

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Life Log

Posted by Kunal on July 8, 2005

Things are moving very fast. I got a job in PSPL. I have a project in TRDDC and my project guide is the great Niranjan Pedanekar. My roll number in college is 42. So far so good.

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w00t

Posted by Kunal on June 17, 2005

The joy of receiving something for free.

I just received a courier of free Ubuntu Linux cds! They sent me 12 sets of Ubuntu ( 2 cds each). Out of these, 10 are for normal x86 PCs while the remaining two sets are for AMD64 PCs. All of this for nothing.

I havent tried Ubuntu as yet, but I have worked on other Debian based distributions (In case you didn’t know, Ubuntu is based on another distribution called Debian which is the granddaddy of all distros). Apparently Ubuntu is newbie friendly and GUI rich. It can also be used as a Live CD.

So, if you want to try Linux or just want to add to your distro collection just put a comment. Obviously, I won’t charge for the cds )

If you are wondering why they sent me free cds in the first place, then visit the Ubuntu website. They ship cds to everyone for free, there is no catch.

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Hippies

Posted by Kunal on June 16, 2005

An article on CNET argues that hippies could have inspired the computer revolution. While I don’t quite agree, it still is a good read.

In an essay he wrote for Time magazine in 1995, Brand maintained that the communal and libertarian outlook espoused during the hippie era spawned the seeds that later bore fruit in the form of the modern cyberrevolution. “At the time, it all seemed dangerously anarchic (and still does to many), but the counterculture’s scorn for centralized authority provided the philosophical foundations of not only the leaderless Internet but also the entire personal-computer revolution.?

There is something about hippies. I don’t know why, but I like the hippies.

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C’est La Vie

Posted by Kunal on May 29, 2005

From the iitb newsgroups via arnab’s blog. Dedicated to a close friend of mine.

A woman has a close male friend. This means that he is probably interested in her, which is why he hangs around so much. She sees him strictly as a friend. This always starts out with, you’re a great guy, but I don’t like you in that way. This is roughly the equivalent for the guy of going to a job interview and the company saying, You have a great resume, you have all the qualifications we are looking for, but we’re not going to hire you. We will, however, use your resume as the basis for comparison for all other applicants. But, we’re going to hire somebody who is far less qualified and is probably an alcoholic. And if he doesn’t work out, we’ll hire somebody else, but still not you. In fact, we will never hire you. But we will call you from time to time to complain about the person that we hired.

Arnab’s website is a brilliantly designed. Just take a look.

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Theme Switcher

Posted by Kunal on May 28, 2005

I have added a theme switcher to the blog. Now you can change the skin/template/theme of the blog as per your wish! Go to the theme section in the sidebar and select a theme by clicking on it. More power to the user!

Additions to the blogroll:
Anand: Now that he is revived his blog, one hopes that his energies are diverted from spamming comment boxes to maintaining his blog!

Anish Bhatt: Fellow quizzer, rocker, Simpsons lover and IT engineer.

 

Update: No such plugin on wordpress.com currently. This feature used to work on my old blog

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Why did I switch?

Posted by Kunal on May 25, 2005

Why did I switch to WordPress from good old Blogger?
First and foremost, a big thank you to Anup for blazing the trail and finding a free hosting provider Clearphp. Now the reasons:
1. WordPress rocks. It is simpler AND much more powerful than Blogger.
2. I get my own website! Yes, this is a complete website where I can upload files, pictures, start chat rooms, forums, email, et all. All of this for free! A simple tool is provided by Clearphp to add all these thingies to your website.
3. Blogger.com is very slow to load at my place. Also, finding a decent subdomain at Blogger is a headache. My ultra-uncreative mind could only come up with a stupid url zaphod-beeb as all others on my wish list were already taken.
4. WordPress themes and plugins are awesome and open source. Hurrah! A tweakers delight, they are. Although the themes are in PHP (I don’t know PHP), they are very simple to understand. They are littered with helpful comments like if you delete this the sky will fall on your head. Prepare yourself for some cool changes on this blog in the coming weeks )
5. All links in the sidebar are stored in a database. So changing the template is a no-sweat job.
6. Categories! I believe categories are very important. A detailed post on categories/tags is in the offing.

All in all, a super deal.

One misconception is that Blogger makes life easier if you just want a Post & Publish functionality. WordPress is simpler. If you don’t believe me, google it!

The biggest problem with switching to WordPress (or for that matter MT) is finding a host either free or paid. One thing which I can’t understand is why the popular Indian bloggers have still stuck with Blogger? All over the world, the popular bloggers have their own domains/ subdomains. It just makes more sense to have more control over your blog.

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